You: Sherlock awoke to the sound of metal clattering on plates, followed shortly by the murmur of voices from the kitchen. “Mrs Hudson must be hosting breakfast for Molly this morning”, he thought, stifling a yawn with his elbow as he pulled a dressing gown over his pyjamas, “otherwise she’s let another client in without my permission again.” Spurred on by the thought, he launched himself out of the bedroom, only to be confronted by a face he hadn’t seen for a long time. “Morning Sherlock,” John Watson sipped at his mug of sugarless builder’s tea. Sherlock stood in the hallway speechlessly, dumbfounded by his second (and worryingly recent) unexpected house guest.
Stranger: John raised an eyebrow at him, before he chuckled quietly. He then set his tea down, and sat up straighter in his chair. "Is everything alright? You look like you're surprised to see me. Have I come over at a bad time or something?" he questioned as he kept his hands wrapped around the large mug, looking up at his friend with curiosity.
You: "John... what are you doing here?" Sherlock blinked once, convinced he was still asleep and was experiencing one of his more vivid subconscious hallucinations, "aren't you supposed to be on your honeymoon with Mary?" As he said this, he glimpsed the lack of tan lines around his uncharacteristically exposed arms, clearly he was trying to make it seem like he had been on the cruise ship to Hawaii by dressing in a lurid beach shirt decorated with palm trees and general tropical un-Englishness. He noticed the splash patterns on the back of John's trouser legs, deducing they had been from a briefcase catching rain backwards as he swung it along, instead of one of the large suitcases Molly always insisted on transporting with her during long trips. "I see you've been travelling," he remarked, preparing himself to commence with the analysis of his newest interlocutor.
Stranger: He sighed and rolled his eyes. "We've been on our honeymoon. But er...after that finished, we decided to do some travelling, hence the tan" John said with a chuckle. He then leant forward in his chair and picked his mug up again, taking a long sip. Once he'd drank half of it, he sighed happily, as he had missed not drinking it on his travels. "So er...the flat smells different. It smells like Molly's perfume. Has there been something going on between you two that I should know about?" he asked with a smirk.
You: Sherlock looked sharply towards his landlady (slash housekeeper), who had been habitually cleaning dishes in the sink since he made his presence known in the kitchen. "Did you tell him what happened last night Mrs Hudson?" he asked, wondering if Molly had relayed her own account of the events of the previous evening.
Stranger: Mrs Hudson frowned. "What? No, not at all" she said truthfully, shaking her head. She then went into the lounge, starting to dust the fireplace. "Have you talked to Molly since the other night?" she asked with a friendly smile.
You: "So Molly was here?" John said with a deliberate grin. Sherlock cast his eyes towards the ceiling in exasperation to Mrs Hudson's lack of discretion. "No, I did not Mrs Hudson," he gestured towards his dishevelled attire, "in case you haven't noticed, I've only just woken." "Up late last night were you?" teased John. "Oh shut up," Sherlock plopped himself in his chair and immediately found Mrs Hudson serving him eggs and toast.
Stranger: She smiled and handed them over. Mrs Hudson then picked up Sherlock's phone, and put it on the arm of his chair. "I see. Well, you should definitely talk to her. You can't just have one special night of romance and then ignore her" she scolded lightly, before she picked up the duster, starting to clean the flat again.
You: "It wasn't romance-“ Sherlock retorted as John had a chortling fit into his breakfast cereal. He snatched his plate up and returned sullenly to his bedroom, turning on his phone to see a single text: 'Hey Sherlock, sorry I couldn't stick around for breakfast, but John left a message on your answering machine about his arrival so I decided to leave. Lunch? We've got a lot to talk about - Molly'. Sherlock ensured his door was closed completely before calling the messenger; he didn't want John making wolf whistling sounds as he was trying to seem unaffected by the happenings of last night.
Stranger: Molly flinched as her phone vibrated on the table. She then gulped and took a deep breath in, her hand shaking a little as she picked it up, before answering. "Hello Sherlock. I'm guessing that you got my message then?" she asked, crossing her legs on the chair as she wrapped a long strand of her hair around her fingers.
You: "I did. What do you mean 'we've got a lot to talk about'? What could we possibly use an entire hour of midday consumption as a topic of discussion that we haven't already covered last night?" Though he sounded interrogative, he had already started to dress in anticipation of the first lunchtime he actually looked forward to having. Usually he abhorred any digestive activity that occurred in his mental peak periods, but for Molly he would make once this exception.
Stranger: She giggled and smiled as she got up. "I just mean, we need to catch up really. I've missed you, even though that sounds a bit stupid" Molly admitted, looking down at her feet. "But erm...where shall we meet up for lunch?"
You: "Ah well," Sherlock hesitated on his penultimate shirt button, "I don't really... eat lunch. Not really aware of places to go for that, I was hoping you'd know."
Stranger: Molly blushed. "Oh. Erm..." she paused and gulped. "We don't have to eat then. We could meet up in the park instead?"
You: "Yes, that's much better," he scanned his wall map of the homeless network he had across London, "how about Richmond Park? I hear the graffiti artists are getting quite seasonal with their work this time of year."
Stranger: She rolled her eyes and smirked. "Only my boyfriend would know that" Molly teased. "But yeah, Richmond Park is fine by me"
You: "See you in ten minutes," Sherlock ended the call before Molly could reply, tucking his shirt into his trousers. He wondered if he should dress less conspicuously lest Molly and himself get attacked by swarms of homeless people wanting bribes for more work, then shrugged as he pulled his jacket on; let the equally chavvy spray painters to fight them for another pardon from the community support officers.
Stranger: When Molly got to the park, she nervously sat down on the bench. She then shrugged her coat off, and set it down next to her. Before she tucked her hands into her lap and looked around, nibbling on her bottom lip.
You: "Your continued self-cannibalism is impressively consistent around my presence," Sherlock appeared behind the bench, startling Molly into biting into her lip even harder, drawing a droplet of blood that camouflaged neatly with the same reddish hue of last night's lipstick. "Oh dear, I do apologise," he swiftly seated himself next to her, pulling his pocket handkerchief from his pocket to Molly's lip, dabbing at her minor injury, "I hope that didn't hurt too much. I do enjoy creeping up on people so much so that I forget the shock factor that comes with it."
Stranger: Molly giggled and shook her head. "Urgh, you arse" she muttered, although she smiled at him to show him that she wasn't being serious. The pathologist then almost dived at him, hugging him tightly. "Hello again boyfriend"
You: Sherlock felt his arms pinned to his sides as he was overwhelmed with the familiar scent of her perfume. "Molly please," he said, his voice muffled under her auburn hair, "we're in public."
Stranger: She frowned, her heart sinking into her foot. Molly then slowly pulled away from, shuffling further along the bench, looking down at her feet. "S-sorry"
You: Sherlock pretended to dust himself off and surveyed the occupants of the park, ensuring there were no potential enemies that would use his newfound relationship with Molly Hooper against him. The last thing he wanted was to dive into yet another bonfire for someone he cared about deeply. No matter how much adrenaline he would receive from the experience, scorch marks were absolutely impossible to get out of suede. "I can't display affection openly for people as long as I maintain a profession that leads me into close proximity with dangerous criminal masterminds," Sherlock murmured under his breath, the reassuring base octave of his voice comforting Molly, "remember what happened to John's first date when Shan thought he was me? She nearly got her head cleaved in two with an arrow, only after a day of knowing him."
Stranger: Molly swallowed hard and bit her lip, feeling her heart crumble in her chest. She then hugged herself, leaning back into the bench. "What are you saying? That you don't want to display affection towards your girlfriend in public, because one of us might get killed?!" she asked with a scoff. The woman then got up and shook her head, tears falling down her face. "Are you dumping me?"
You: Sherlock continued his surveillance of the park, Molly's outburst would surely attract attention. He wondered if he should provoke her into attacking him physically again, just for the general public's confirmation of their apparent relationship of mutual animosity. "Of course not," he attempted to console her hysteria, "but there's a reason why I wasn't interested in having relationships until recently. I am not a person who can maintain a normal life… not for very long before I start looking for John’s old service revolver anyway. My work had been the most important thing to me, I only cared about how it would affect my life, and about how my life might affect it, contorting it to suit the work’s constantly fluctuating needs. I know now it may not seem the most human thing to do, according to your life experience presumably, but I can't really drop my livelihood for a single reason, no matter what it may be. Perhaps I'll sleep on it," Sherlock prepared himself mentally for the impending hand to strike his face, hoping she was still neglecting to wear her engagement ring.
Stranger: She sighed shakily and bit her lip, realising that she had messed up. Molly then cleared her throat, before she ran her hands over her face. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to shout at you" she apologised as she stood up on her tiptoes, kissing his cheek. "Why don't we head back to Barts? Then we don't have to worry about displaying affection in public"
You: "Won't the staff at the hospital find it strange that we're coming in to work on a Sunday?" Sherlock lowered his eyebrows, which had tilted upwards in surprise at her unforeseen understanding. He looked up towards the skyline of London pinpointing the five minute walk to Barts, his sleeve rising up to meet his cheek as he routinely rubbed off the smear of lipstick Molly left whenever she kissed him.
Stranger: Molly paused and bit nodded. "Mmm, true. We'll go back to mine then". When they arrived at her flat, she closed and looked the door behind them. "Sherlock, can we talk properly? Please?"
You: "About what?" he teetered nervously on his heels as Molly drew the curtains, replacing the daylight with the one of her shell-shaped ceiling lamp. He scanned her apartment, automatically searching for potential hazards and threats, realising he lingered on unnecessary details in this particular environment, her collection of glassy-eyed stuffed bears fixing him with the same judging stare he had cast on them for a full two seconds before moving on to another likely more important element of this new setting.
Stranger: She walked over to him and took his hand, leading him over to the sofa. Molly then sat him down on it, before she sat down beside him. "Our relationship. I don't want it to all go down in flames or whatever. And I want you to know that neither of us are going to get hurt, so there's nothing to worry about. Just...why don't you want to kiss or hug me in public?"
You: "It's too dangerous to allow the knowledge of my private relationships to become public domain," Sherlock rested his head on his intertwined fingers as he sank into the plumpness of Molly's couch cushions, "not with the work I- we do. You just don't become as involved in our business as I tend to be, because you're restrained by the rulebook of the responsible pathologist. There isn't one for a consulting detective. My friendship with John Watson puts him in much greater danger than anyone else, but he proves too useful to deny him the supply of sensational criminology he so craves. You on the other hand, are of much greater use than anyone I know… because you're the one whom everyone thinks doesn't matter to me who matters the most." Sherlock took a deep breath after his explanation, hoping he had somewhat convinced her that his marriage to his work was exempt from annulment, preventing him from establishing any sort of relationship that he was comfortable to display to public.
Stranger: Molly bit her lip and nodded. She supposed that she'd just have to make a sacrifice, and not display any affection towards Sherlock in public. Although the idea sounded completely ridiculous in her head. The woman then nodded and kissed his cheek. "Okay, I understand" she said as she got up. "Anyways, do you want something to drink?"
You: "Drinks still requires digesting," Sherlock arose from his seat and joined Molly in her cramped kitchen, "if I'm having drinks, I'm having lunch along with it." He smiled at Molly, hoping she realised that his reluctance for the conventional relationship was not an indication of his aversion to one of quiet intimacy.
Stranger: She smirked and nodded. Molly then took two mugs out of the cupboard, and placed them on the bench. Before she got filled the kettle up and put it on the boil, turning around to face the detective. "Sherlock?"
You: "Hmm?" The detective ceased his inspection of the heights of the dust layers in her apartment.
Stranger: Molly giggled and shook her head at him. She then pulled him down by his coat collar, kissing him deeply.
You: Sherlock turned scarlet, feeling her improved technique of kissing exactly correlated with his previous advice on her past performance. “Goodness Molly was thorough,” he thought as he felt her passion surpass that of his by miles, “she remembered everything I memorised off Youtube.” Molly released his collar, causing him to collapse backwards onto her couch, his chest heaving as he gulped for air after the prolonged deprivation of oxygen to his brain.
Stranger: She smirked and blushed as he fell on her sofa. Molly then shrugged and tucked some hair behind her ear. "I've been wanting to do that since we met up earlier". She then moved to sit beside him, kissing his cheek. "I didn't freak you out too much, did I?"
You: "You 'freak me out' every time I see you Molly," Sherlock shook his head to clear his thoughts, "you're absolutely unpredictable, it's terrifying."
Stranger: Molly giggled and smiled. She then pulled on his arm, getting him to sit up. "Do you mean that in a good way? Or a bad way?"
You: "I think everyone knows the reason why I like what I do," Sherlock got up onto his feet, "predictability is so mind-numbingly boring." He made his way to her door, eager to leave before his discountenance caused him to do anything more he might regret.
Stranger: She frowned, confused. Molly then looked up and followed him. "Sherlock, why are you leaving? I don't want you to leave. Please stay...." she then paused. "What's wrong?"
You: "Nothing whatsoever Molly," he rested his hand on the door handle. His thoughts ran wildly in his head as he attempted to comprehend her concern for what was very clearly skittishness. Never had he been so reluctant to initiate something he already knew he was going to do, and confusion was not a desirable factor to have in the analytical mind. Thankfully just then, his phone rang, relieving him of the responsibility of coming up with yet another reason for his dismissiveness. He looked apologetically towards the bewildered pathologist, pressing the surface of his phone to his flushed face, feeling the temperature difference between the cold glass screen and his emotionally-elevated body temperature. "Sherlock?" John Watson's voice reverberated in his ears. "John," Sherlock acknowledged his connection, before quietly adding "you have no idea how relieved I am by your call's interruption."
Stranger: Molly frowned as she just about heard his words. She then scoffed quietly. "Well, if you feel that way then maybe you should leave" she said sadly, shaking her head. The pathologist then sniffled and quickly ran off into her bedroom, slamming the door behind them. She hated how she was feeling right now. Why couldn't they be like they have been the other night? It had felt so good.
Me: Sherlock stiffened as he realised his voice had been a little more audible than he had meant it to be, though he had little time to feel remorse for his actions as John started speaking again. “I know you spotted some unknown detail about me this morning that told you about what really happened during the honeymoon,” he inhaled hesitantly, before letting out a sigh and continuing, “no, don’t show off by explaining what it was, I know you know. Mary’s been taken, the entire cruise ship was filled with the henchmen of an old enemy of your brother’s. I jumped off the ship and was fortunate enough to be spotted by a patrol helicopter, but Mary… I don’t know what they’re planning to do with her. Mycroft won’t help, he says he’s busy with some rubbish that has to do with the Korean elections but he told me to come to you. His exact words were ‘he might be interested in it’, but this isn’t a case. This matters to me Sherlock, and I’ll get you as much help as you need, either from me or from anyone you consider reputable enough to work alongside with.”
Sherlock looked up as John finished. Someone whom he trusted their capabilities of working in the same field as he did, someone whom he had worked alongside with before to know of their reputation, someone who was currently concocting some sort of undetectable chemical laxative to spike his drink with in revenge for his impudence towards her feelings…
“Molly?” Sherlock turned himself towards the closed door, “I think you might be interested in this.”